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Tartini, Telemann and Vivaldi

Tartini sonatas
The Locatelli Trio
Hyperion Dyad CDD22061

Telemann Musique de table
The King’s Consort/King
Hyperion Helios CDH55278

If you missed these first time round, consider them on this month's cheap reissues. Both are good examples of Hyperion's baroque releases which usually garnered high praise on original release.

Elizabeth Wallfisch (one of my very favourite baroque violinists) heads the line-up for Tartini, with the two best known 'named' sonatas, The Devil's Trill & Dido abbandonata, and eight others (originally 1990/91).

Two major Telemann suites (recorded 1987) - ideal to accompany mealtimes now as in the 18 C - were conducted by Robert King, currently out of action, and led by Roy Goodman (one-time famed boy soprano, now an important conductor) with trumpet, oboes and strings.

From Gramofile I endorse " - - The players capture the spirit of the Overture-Suite in D major (Second Production) with pleasing tempos, crisp articulation, taut rhythms and fine ensemble. The trumpet has an important role in this Suite and here it is played with finesse by Crispian Steele-Perkins—resonant, authoritative but never overbearing. Oboes are kept busy, too, as indeed is the leader, Roy Goodman who gives a lively account of the several concertante passages for violin. His presence has contributed much to the ultimate success of this project."

No allowances need be made for 20 years passed; these stand as quality representatives of baroque scholarship of the time and I doubt whether either has been bettered since then.

Enjoyed and safely recommended.

Vivaldi L'estro armonico
Elizabeth Wallfisch/Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Jeanne Lamon, Music Director

The Four Seasons Mosaic

Analekta AN 2 9835 with Bonus DVD (2007)

Elizabeth Wallfisch is featured as prime soloist also in Vivaldi's Opus 3, eight concertos for one, two and four violins and strings, and this is a very desirable recording by Tafelmusik emanating from Toronto. (q.v. also L'estro armonico by the marvellous Accademia Bizantina.)

But what makes the Tafelmusik package an absolute must is an entrancing bonus documentary DVD which celebrates multi-cultural Canada in the most creative manner imaginable. Excerpts from the Four Seasons are worked up with expert musicians from other cultures world wide all of whom had settled in Toronto.

They gradually identified with the music (without playing or singing from scores) and achieved a memorable concert, which they rightly saw as a contribution towards solidarity and friendship between nations.

Aruna Narayan, daughter of the great sarangi virtuoso Ram Naryan, and Wen Zhao, expert pipa player, were shown visiting home in Bejing and India for some refreshment and a little coaching, and two throat singers from the far north were also woven into the musical tapestry.

Absolutely enchanting ! This has been a good week for us, with another bonus DVD in a fine set of Scriabin's piano music, and a truly remarkable experimental DVD of James Dillon violin duos from Sweden. If you add those to your purchase list from this page you won't go far wrong!

The filming of this great documentary in many countries is superb; not quite so good the booklet information in the copy which reached me, with no TTs (most of an hour each disc); the jewel case broken, as not infrequently, and peculiar un-numbered pagination with two blank black pages in the middle... Worry not though, this production will give everyone great delight.

Vivaldi - The Trial of Harmony & Invention
12 Concertos Op. 8 -
Volume 1
Concerto in E, op. 8,1 'La Primavera' (RV 269) [9:39] Concerto in g minor, op. 8,2 'L'Estate' (RV 315) [10:11] Concerto in F, op. 8,3 'L'Autunno' (RV 293) [11:02] Concerto in f minor, op. 8,4 'L'Inverno' (RV 297) [8:20] Concerto in E flat, op. 8,5 'La Tempesta di Mare' (RV 253) [8:12] Concerto in C, op. 8,6 'Il Piacere' (RV 180)
Volume 2

Violin Concertos, Op. 8 No. 7 in D minor,RV242 'per Pisendel'; Op. 8 No. 8 in G minor, RV332; Op. 8 No. 10 in B flat major, RV362 'La Caccia'; ;Op. 8 No. 11 in D major, RV210.
Oboe Concertos in D minor, RV454; in C major, RV449

Stefano Montanari (violin) & Paolo Grazzi (oboe)
Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone

ARTS RTS 47564-8 & 47565-8 SACD [57 + 56 mins]

Amongst an abundance of baroque riches, this must score amongst the highest, alongside the L'estro armonico by the same group (founded 1983, Ravenna). Seven of the twelve concertos have evocative non-musical titles, whilst maintaining the usual fixed 3-movement formal structures. I don't want any other version of The Seasons, which had long been on my "to be avoided" list, and comes back years on here as fresh and delightful as ever.

There is a buoyant lightness in all the playing which is irresistible. Stefano Montanari is as fine a violinist as any of the more famous names which have done them...

The set is supported by unusually complete documentation, running to a technical information list which identifies all the cables used! The specific features of these concertos are traversed interestingly by Cesare Fertononi.

The multilingual texts for the 16-20 page booklets are printed in solid black on white, but are dissuadingly miniscule for reading (q.v. our Article on CD Booklets). That (not uncommon) problem " - - text unnecessarily only semi-legible, calls in aid a magnifying glass, because of cluttered pages with quantities of redundant verbiage in several languages, most of which will go unread - - " could have been avoided by using strong, thin paper which is available, instead of the thick, glossy type chosen here.

Haydn: concertos for harpsichord & violin
Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone / Stefano Montanari

I am less enthusiastic about a Haydn disc by the same team [L’Oiseau-Lyre 478 2243]. The popular piano concerto in D has Dantone's harpsichord dwarfed by his large-sounding orchestra; the others for violin and for violin+harpsichord are less interesting - but the disc has been welcomed by The Times.

Peter Grahame Woolf